In a somewhat disappointing debut, American Idol 1 fourth-place finisher Tamyra Gray's debut CD, entitled The Dreamer, only managed to reach #23 in its first week on the Nielsen SoundScan U.S. Album Sales chart (also known as the Billboard 200) for the week ended May 30, 2004. Tamyra's CD thus becomes the first of the five CDs released by Idol finalists through major labels to fail to reach the Top 20 in its debut.

Sales for the opening week of The Dreamer were also somewhat disappointing at 39,000 copies, despite the presence of star guest producers ranging from Babyface to Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis to Diane Warren. Tamyra's opening-week sales barely edged out tone-deaf Idol 3 reject William Hung, whose Inspiration sold over 37,600 copies in its debut week (although it only placed #34 on the charts).

By contrast, the CDs from Idol winners Kelly Clarkson and Ruben Studdard plus Idol 2 runner-up Clay Aiken each debuted at #1 with sales of hundreds of thousands of copies. The other two najor-label Idol debuts, Idol 1 runner-up Justin Guarini and Idol 2 third-place finisher Kimberley Locke, both opened in the lower reaches of the Top 20 (Kimberley at #16 and Jusitn at #20 with sales of around 57,000 units each -- about 50% more than Tamyra.

Of course, disappointing first-week sales don't necessarily mean that all is lost. Tamyra is destined to receive some more attention when American Idol 3 winner Fantasia Barrino releases her debut single, "I Believe," which was co-written by Tamyra. Nevertheless, the heavy promotion given to Tamyra on Idol 3 (two shows as the guest artist, plus a solo rendition of the U.S. national anthem on the finale) did not produce enough "buzz" to enable her CD to even come close to Justin or Kimberley's opening -- and Justin's album ended up selling so poorly (about 141,000 copies to date) that he was dropped by his label.

Perhaps there was a reason that 19 Entertainment had to start its own U.S. label (19 Records, distributed by Universal) just to release Tamyra's CD -- people like Clive Davis (head of BMG, which normally releases the artists from Idol that are signed by 19) haven't forgotten that everything American Idol touches doesn't necessarily turn to gold.

NOTE: We have previously reported that first-week sales of Justin's self-titled debut CD were 54,000 copies. It has come to our attention that first-week sales were actually 57,000 copies. While we know that the 54,000 number was the number originally reported by Nielsen SoundScan, we missed the subsequent revision of the sales figures. Thus, from now on, we will use the 57,000 figure. We also understand that the second release from 19 Records will have nothing to do with Idol. Instead, it will be Emma Bunton, the one-time "Baby Spice" of Simon Fuller's "girl power" novelty act the Spice Girls. Since the only Spice Girl with much of a presence in the news these days is Victoria Adams Beckham, aka "Posh Spice" -- and more for her husband's philandering than for her singing (or even her strange choice of children's names) -- we expect that the Justin Guarini CD and the movie From Justin to Kelly will soon have company in the cutout bins.